Entering 2017, expectations in Gainesville (Fla.) were limitless for the then rising redshirt junior running back Jordan Scarlett. Florida fans and coaches are aware of the unique talent Scarlett possesses on the field after he rushed for 889 yards and 6 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2016 behind a lousy offensive line.
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More impressive is his ability to evade pursuing tacklers, generating 50 missed tackles that year, while the entire team combined for 44 created missed tackles in 2017.
Unfortunately, due to off the field issues, Scarlett would be suspended for the entire season and his absence was noticeable.
Now, the 5-foot-11, 210-pound back has an opportunity to be the featured ball carrier in Florida’s 2018 offense.
“We want to run the ball. We want to be a physical running team, and guys are going to earn their carries and earn their touches, earn their right to play,” Coach Dan Mullen explained at Monday’s press conference.
Scarlett, who is one of the most physical backs not only in the conference, but in the country, will certainly bring the hard-nose running to this position group.
In 2016, 53-percent of his yards came after contact. His brute strength is ideal for running in between the tackles and delivering blows to opposing defenses. He’s not afraid of contact and his film demonstrates that. Scarlett also exemplifies terrific speed, allowing him to potentially take runs the distance.
Being out for a full season can mentally and physically derail some players, but according to running backs coach Greg Knox, Scarlett is taking the right strides to be a dominant SEC running back.
“It’s good to have him. He’s trying to be a leader. He’s working hard and doing the things we ask him to do. I’m pleased with him so far,” Knox said Tuesday following practice.
Florida’s running back depth from top to bottom is outstanding, any of the five tailbacks can earn carries this fall. However, Coach Knox realizes the difference maker Scarlett can be for this team.
“He’s a talented kid. He’s a very talented kid. It shows every day and it’s all the little things we want him to do right because he has the ability,” Knox said.
Florida’s offense is going to rely heavily on the run. Scarlett has all-world talent that can help this team win games and boost his NFL stock with a strong 2018 campaign.